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Vatican: Pope didn't perform exorcism
May 21st, 2013
02:55 PM ET

Vatican: Pope didn't perform exorcism

By Dan Merica, CNN

(CNN) – A Vatican spokesman on Tuesday refuted claims that Pope Francis performed an exorcism on a man in St. Peter’s Square after Mass on Sunday. But he did not altogether deny the encounter.

“The Holy Father had no intention to perform any exorcism,” the Rev. Federico Lombardi said in a statement. “Instead, as he frequently does for the sick and suffering persons who approach him, he simply meant to pray for a suffering person who was presented to him.”

Speculation that Francis performed an exorcism began to ricochet around the Internet when video of the encounter from TV2000, a Catholic television station in Italy, was posted online.

In the video, Francis smiles and takes the hand of an unnamed man in a wheelchair. After a priest whispers in the pope's ear, his demeanor changes and he places his hands on the man’s head. The video shows the man in the wheelchair convulsing before his body goes limp with his mouth agape.

The pope also places his hands on two other people in wheelchairs, but neither has the same dramatic reaction.

Performing an exorcism is the act of “casting out” evil spirits from a person’s body. The power to perform exorcisms, wrote the Rev. Thomas Rosica in an e-mail to reporters, “was conferred by Jesus on the apostles, and it is understood that this power passes to the bishops who are the successors to the apostles, and priests the co-workers.”

“The Church has had – for many hundreds of years, it ought to be added – a very precise ritual of exorcism: there are no evangelical-style tent revival theatrics, but careful, even methodical attention and faithful following of the prescribed prayers, gestures and use of sacramentals such as holy water and the crucifix,” Rosica added.

Bishop Thomas J. Paprocki of Springfield, Illinois, an American expert on exorcism who organized a conference on the topic in 2010, said what Francis did on Sunday was “clearly not an exorcism as most people understand it.”

“It is just too short,” Paprocki said. Most exorcisms, Paprocki said, take 20 to 30 minutes to complete and involve reciting prayers, reading scriptures and using sacramental objects such as crucifixes and holy water.

“I doubt the pope has it memorized,” the bishop said.

Paprocki’s 2010 conference on exorcism was seen as a peak of interest in the ancient practice at least in the United States. According to experts, 100 bishops and priests attended the exorcism conference held in Baltimore.

“Since that conference, I think things have died down a little bit,” Paprocki said. “I think it kind of ebbs and flows and sometimes you get more of an interest in that than other times.”

Exorcism is not unique to Catholicism. Other Christian faiths, Hinduism and Islam all have forms of casting out evil spirits.

Jesus performs a number of exorcisms in the Bible, encounters that are recounted in the Gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke. One example: in Matthew 9:32-34, Jesus exorcises a mute shortly after healing two blind men.

“As they were going away, behold, a demon-oppressed man who was mute was brought to him,” reads the passage. “And when the demon had been cast out, the mute man spoke.”

The guidelines on Catholic exorcisms, “De Exorcismis et Supplicationibus Quibusdam,” or “Of Exorcisms and Certain Supplications,” are an 84-page document that was last revised in 1998.

Hollywood has also contributed to the public fascination with exorcism.

In 1973 “The Exorcist” captured America's imagination about demons taking over a person’s body and profoundly shaped the public's perceptions about the process of throwing those devils out. The movie was violent, vivid and for many people unforgettable.

More recently, in 2010, a movie titled “The Rite,” starring Anthony Hopkins, dramatized the life and training of the Rev. Gary Thomas, a California priest, as an exorcist in Rome.

To experts on exorcism, however, these movies are just a sensational look at a traditional Catholic practice.

“These portrayals in these movies tend towards sensationalism,” said Rev. Mark Morozowich, dean of theology and religious studies at the Catholic University of America. “It creates a hysteria among some people and it creates fantasies among other people. I think this has caused undue fascination with these things.”

Morozowich said in some cases exorcisms are legitimately necessary and solemn tasks taken on by a priest.

“While possessions do exist, they are meant to be something more private,” Morozowich said. “Sometimes it trivializes that experience by fantasizing it.”

– CNN’s Tom Foreman and Daniel Burke contributed to this report.

- Dan Merica

Filed under: Belief • Catholic Church • Pope • Pope Francis

soundoff (442 Responses)
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  7. Science

    And............Biggest JOKE under the SUN.................NO heaven or horn-y red devil..........never has been !

    Heaven for atheists? Pope sparks debate

    By Dan Merica, CNN

    http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2013/05/23/heaven-for-atheists-pope-sparks-debate/comment-page-43/#comment-2372761

    http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2013/05/21/vatican-pope-didnt-perform-exorcism/#comments\

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    PS Do a simple search for Prof. Higgs.............the church hates that = True Comedy Gold !

    May 28, 2013 at 10:43 am |
    • Science

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      June 1, 2013 at 7:27 pm |
    • Science

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      Biblical Marriage Not Defined Simply As One Man, One Woman: Iowa Religious Scholars' Op-Ed

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      June 9, 2013 at 4:10 pm |
    • Science

      The blue box COMEDY GOLD

      Vatican: Pope didn't perform exorcism – CNN Belief Blog – CNN ...

      religion.blogs.cnn.com/2013/05/21/vatican-pope-didnt-perform-exorcism

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  10. Reality

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  11. faith

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    • Science

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    • Science

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      .
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      Hey Vic and Chadie

      Faith-Healing Churches Linked to 2 Dozen Child Deaths

      by Vince Lattanzio posted on May 25, 2013 02:45PM GMT

      http://www.richarddawkins.net/news_articles/2013/5/25/faith-healing-churches-linked-to-2-dozen-child-deaths#

      Have a great life.

      Peace

      May 26, 2013 at 1:11 pm |
    • Science

      Well faith................ so you learned something .

      http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2013/05/24/prosecutor-parents-refusal-to-seek-medical-attention-led-to-infants-death/#comments

      May 29, 2013 at 9:04 am |
  12. An accidental excorcism

    I was in the hospital yesterday. They gave me a supository and several glasses of prune juice. After a long and agonizing while I sensed the presence of cornmeal and maple syrup. It was extremely painful and in personality reminded me alot of the comedian Gilbert Godfrey. If demons exist within us and can be excorcised that was one...it took the better part of an afternoon to flush it along with my surgical tape.

    May 25, 2013 at 2:50 pm |
  13. .

    &lt;/b&gt;

    May 25, 2013 at 12:24 pm |
    • Science

      Chomp on that bone...................creationists/ID believers. chadie too..................evolution at its best the old croc.

      Time for the horn-y beast to get the hell out of the bedVroooom !!!

      Fourteen Closely Related Crocodiles Existed Around 5 Million Years Ago

      May 21, 2013 — Today, the most diverse species of crocodile are found in northern South America and Southeast Asia: As many as six species of alligator and four true crocodiles exist, although no more than two or three ever live alongside one another at the same time. It was a different story nine to about five million years ago, however, when a total of 14 different crocodile species existed and at least seven of them occupied the same area at the same time, as an international team headed by paleontologists Marcelo Sánchez and Torsten Scheyer from the University of Zurich is now able to reveal.

      http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/05/130521121323.htm

      AND

      Hey faithy seems like you have not been weaned yet sort of like chadie .............reminds me of a 5 year old ?

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      May 24, 2013 — Most modern human mothers wean their babies much earlier than our closest primate relatives. But what about our extinct relatives, the Neanderthals?

      http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/05/130524104828.htm

      Current search on Bing chadie ..........bookmark update chad........3rd one from top of page.

      RDFRS: When Christians become a 'hated minority'

      http://www.richarddawkins.net/.../5/5/when-christians-become-a-hated-minority

      11,000,000 results Any time

      AND

      Scientists Find Oldest Dinosaur – Or Closest Relative Yet

      Dec. 5, 2012 — Researchers have discovered what may be the earliest dinosaur, a creature the size of a Labrador retriever, but with a five foot-long tail, that walked the Earth about 10 million years before more familiar dinosaurs like the small, swift-footed Eoraptor and Herrerasaurus.

      http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/12/121205084421.htm

      Game over .................god(s) did NOT create US !

      NO red horn-y devil either........ NEVER has been one.!

      The DINOSAUR ?...............Chomp Chomp !...Evolution WINS hands down...time for the horn-y red devil to get the

      HELL out of the way.....................Stem Cell research !

      Allosaurus Fed More Like a Falcon Than a Crocodile: Engineering, Anatomy Work Reveals Differences in Dinosaur Feeding Styles

      May 21, 2013 — The mighty T. rex may have thrashed its massive head from side to side to dismember prey, but a new study shows that its smaller cousin Allosaurus was a more dexterous hunter and tugged at prey more like a modern-day falcon.

      http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/05/130521152638.htm

      PLUS

      COMEDY GOLD................it is THE PEARLY GATES !.............what a JOKE !

      Heaven for atheists? Pope sparks debate

      By Dan Merica, CNN

      http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2013/05/23/heaven-for-atheists-pope-sparks-debate/comment-page-18/#respond

      Splat Chad

      June 4, 2013 at 9:00 am |
  14. mama k

    Bill Moyers interviews Daniel Dennett, an American philosopher, writer and cognitive scientist whose research centers on the philosophy of mind, science & biology. He is a professor of philosophy at Tufts University.
    [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EUeQXmYVamA&w=640&h=390]
    Dennett: "[not all, but for many, the dangerous thing about religion is that] it gives people a gold-plated excuse to stop thinking."

    May 25, 2013 at 8:59 am |
    • Science

      You know faith you are stuck in a big pile GREEN SLIME with NO horn-y red devil to save your ass.

      May 25, 2013 at 12:06 pm | Report abuse |

      Agree ...............mama k............. everybody do a simple search for Prof. Higgs............the church hates that .

      A box does not work well for thinking.............think outside the box at http:/ted.com/talks

      Peace

      Hey faith/chad... and sally too........Thanks have a great life.

      http://www.wecanbeheroes.org/

      http://www.caterpillar.com/Foundation

      http://www.autismspeaks.org/

      http://www.hlntv.com/clusters/salute-troops

      https://www.zotero.org/colleengreene/items/5XRFKX8N

      Heaven for atheists? Pope sparks debate

      By Dan Merica, CNN

      http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2013/05/23/heaven-for-atheists-pope-sparks-debate/

      http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2013/02/09/my-take-a-word-to-christians-be-nice/comment-page-44/#comment-2369235

      http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2013/03/23/the-money-man-behind-atheisms-activism/comment-page-77/#comment-2369249

      http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2013/05/21/who-hears-prayersforoklahoma/?replytocom=2369279#respond

      http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2013/05/19/proofs-of-heaven-popular-but-not-with-the-church/?replytocom=2366421#respond

      http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2013/05/24/has-the-oklahoma-atheist-been-saved/comment-page-2/#comment-2369325

      http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2013/05/05/when-christians-become-a-hated-minority/

      May 25, 2013 at 9:11 am | Report abuse |

      May 25, 2013 at 9:16 am | Report abuse |

      Hey doogie you too !

      Hey Chad,faith the peach and all creationists what color JELL- O you stuck IN. ? Star Dusts (chondrites) and water !

      Scientists Offer First Definitive Proof of Bacteria-Feeding Behavior in Green Algae

      May 23, 2013 — A team of researchers has captured images of green alga consuming bacteria, offering a glimpse at how early organisms dating back more than 1 billion years may have acquired free-living photosynthetic cells. This acquisition is thought to have been a critical first step in the evolution of photosynthetic algae and land plants, which, in turn, contributed to the increase in oxygen levels in Earth's atmosphere and ocean and provided one of the conditions necessary for animal evolution.

      http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/05/130523143741.htm

      [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lafL_mmv3EA&w=640&h=390]

      Game over .................god(s) did NOT create US !

      NO red horn-y devil either........ NEVER has been one.!

      The DINOSAUR ?...............Chomp Chomp !...Evolution WINS hands down...time for the horn-y red devil to get the

      HELL out of the way.....................Stem Cell research !

      Allosaurus Fed More Like a Falcon Than a Crocodile: Engineering, Anatomy Work Reveals Differences in Dinosaur Feeding Styles

      May 21, 2013 — The mighty T. rex may have thrashed its massive head from side to side to dismember prey, but a new study shows that its smaller cousin Allosaurus was a more dexterous hunter and tugged at prey more like a modern-day falcon.

      http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/05/130521152638.htm

      PLUS

      Better than Comedy GOLD................it is THE PEARLY GATES !.............what a JOKE !

      Heaven for atheists? Pope sparks debate

      By Dan Merica, CNN

      http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2013/05/23/heaven-for-atheists-pope-sparks-debate/comment-page-18/#respond

      Peace

      May 25, 2013 at 3:14 pm |
  15. TiagoTiago

    An accidental exorcism...interesting...

    May 24, 2013 at 8:53 pm |
  16. jim

    does this guy or gal think anyone is following this to his comments? his computer is stuck on copy and paste.
    mr.or mrs. or ms. science ? please turn your computer off and wait for my instructions to reboot it.

    May 23, 2013 at 9:31 pm |
  17. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things

    May 23, 2013 at 8:41 pm |
    • Science

      Better than Comedy GOLD................it is THE PEARLY GATES !.............what a JOKE !

      Heaven for atheists? Pope sparks debate

      By Dan Merica, CNN

      http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2013/05/23/heaven-for-atheists-pope-sparks-debate/comment-page-18/#respond

      http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2013/05/05/when-christians-become-a-hated-minority/

      AND

      Bigem foot Texas style ...Chomp on that foot print !

      Discovery Channel Mega Beasts – Great American Predator

      [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8UHQZVQvBkU&w=640&h=390]

      https://www.zotero.org/colleengreene/items/5XRFKX8N

      http://www.caterpillar.com/Foundation

      May 24, 2013 at 3:29 pm |
    • Science

      hey cap'y you too

      Hey faith... and sally too........Thanks have a great life.

      http://www.wecanbeheroes.org/

      http://www.caterpillar.com/Foundation

      http://www.autismspeaks.org/

      https://www.zotero.org/colleengreene/items/5XRFKX8N

      Heaven for atheists? Pope sparks debate

      By Dan Merica, CNN

      http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2013/05/23/heaven-for-atheists-pope-sparks-debate/

      http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2013/02/09/my-take-a-word-to-christians-be-nice/comment-page-44/#comment-2369235

      http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2013/03/23/the-money-man-behind-atheisms-activism/comment-page-77/#comment-2369249

      http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2013/05/05/when-christians-become-a-hated-minority/

      http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2013/05/21/vatican-pope-didnt-perform-exorcism/?replytocom=2365377#respond..

      Peace

      May 25, 2013 at 8:42 am |
    • Jesus

      Prayer does not; you are such a LIAR. You have NO proof it changes anything! A great example of prayer proven not to work is the Christians in jail because prayer didn't work and their children died. For example: Susan Grady, who relied on prayer to heal her son. Nine-year-old Aaron Grady died and Susan Grady was arrested.

      An article in the Journal of Pediatrics examined the deaths of 172 children from families who relied upon faith healing from 1975 to 1995. They concluded that four out of five ill children, who died under the care of faith healers or being left to prayer only, would most likely have survived if they had received medical care.

      The statistical studies from the nineteenth century and the three CCU studies on prayer are quite consistent with the fact that humanity is wasting a huge amount of time on a procedure that simply doesn’t work. Nonetheless, faith in prayer is so pervasive and deeply rooted, you can be sure believers will continue to devise future studies in a desperate effort to confirm their beliefs!

      May 28, 2013 at 10:44 am |
    • Really?

      "Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things"

      That's why the data, has shown that atheists have happier and healthier lives than conservative Christians. Your post is built on a lie!

      May 28, 2013 at 10:55 am |
  18. Science

    Do you have any..............faith/chad or the pope ?

    Where do morals come from?.....................NOT THE BIBLE>

    By Kelly Murray, CNN

    http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2013/04/12/where-do-morals-come-from/#comments

    Hey faith..................the peach........... did you learn or hear from that Discovery show about the LAND BRIDGE ?

    How many years ago did we cross into North America ?.................faith chadie and Good news..........not

    Free learning videos go viral

    By Salman Khan, Special to CNN

    http://www.cnn.com/2011/OPINION/07/24/khan.video.learning/index.html

    http://www.youtube.com/user/TEDtalksDirector

    The DINOSAUR ?...............Chomp Chomp !...Evolution WINS hands down...time for the horn-y red devil to get the

    HELL out of the way.....................Stem Cell research !

    Allosaurus Fed More Like a Falcon Than a Crocodile: Engineering, Anatomy Work Reveals Differences in Dinosaur Feeding Styles

    May 21, 2013 — The mighty T. rex may have thrashed its massive head from side to side to dismember prey, but a new study shows that its smaller cousin Allosaurus was a more dexterous hunter and tugged at prey more like a modern-day falcon.

    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/05/130521152638.htm

    Evolution wins............No red devil either !

    Evolving Genes Lead to Evolving Genes: Selection in European Populations of Genes Regulated by FOXP2

    Apr. 18, 2013 — Researchers have designed a method that can universally test for evolutionary adaption, or positive (Darwinian) selection, in any chosen set of genes, using re-sequencing data such as that generated by the 1000 Genomes Project. The method identifies gene sets that show evidence for positive selection in comparison with matched controls, and thus highlights genes for further functional studies.

    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/04/130418124905.htm

    Oldest of the old.............the RCC ...........BedVrooooom.............and the red devil................not funny !

    Science books........videos.............trumps the 666.................beast.................or red horn-y thingy....does it

    NOT ........peachy ?.............but below IS..............please help .........thank you.

    A project of DC Entertainment to support Save the Children, Mercy Corps and IRC

    http://www.wecanbeheroes.org/

    The Greatest Action Movie Ever (G.A.M.E.)

    [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JUuHV3cEzZ8&w=640&h=390]

    Again Chadie................SPLAT = E mc2...............(U-Pb)...........dating process for link below

    http://library.thinkquest.org/05aug/00461/uraninite.htm

    And a little carbon – 14 from chondrites..............and water =

    WHAM-O........horn-y planet and life.

    Mom and Dad............did it faith !

    http://www.discovertheforest.org/...............To Grandmas house we go

    Hey Vic

    Do a simple search on Prof. Higgs.

    It is what creates the mass for our asses !

    May 23, 2013 at 10:21 am | Report abuse |

    Jeff

    That's not occam's razor. Occam's razor is that the hypothesis WITH THE FEWEST ASSUMPTIONS is the MOST LIKELY.

    Seeing as you are assuming an all powerful, all present, all knowing deity with no origin and no supporting, observable and repeatable evidence, creation through God is no where near the most likely.

    May 23, 2013 at 10:22 am | Report abuse |

    ME II

    @Vic,
    The ICR is obviously biased and not scientific.

    "Principles of Scientific Creationism

    The physical universe of space, time, matter, and energy has not always existed, but was supernaturally created by a transcendent personal Creator who alone has existed from eternity."
    "The first human beings did not evolve from an animal ancestry, but were specially created in fully human form from the start."

    "The Bible, ... is ... infallible and completely authoritative on all matters with which they deal, free from error of any sort, scientific and historical as well as moral and theological."
    (http://www.icr.org/tenets/)

    May 23, 2013 at 10:22 am | Report abuse |

    Red Rover............something NEW............you asked !

    [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tEowVBEQl88&w=640&h=390]

    https://www.zotero.org/colleengreene/items/XW3H99PB

    I'm a Dinosaur – Ultrasaurus The Ultra Cool Dinosaur

    [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WuFT_wGBrIA&w=640&h=390]

    http://www.youtube.com/user/HooplaKidzTv

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    http://www.autismspeaks.org/

    Hey Earl

    Share OK Thanks.

    Comments (1,644 comments)

    This Oklahoma atheist isn't thanking the Lord

    By Jessica Ravitz, CNN

    http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2013/05/22/this-oklahoma-atheist-isnt-thanking-the-lord/#comments

    http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2013/05/05/when-christians-become-a-hated-minority/

    http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2013/02/09/my-take-a-word-to-christians-be-nice/comment-page-44/#comment-2364094

    Atheists Fight Gideon Bibles With Books By Christopher Hitchens And Richard Dawkins In Georgia State Parks

    http://www.ibtimes.com/atheists-fight-gideon-bibles-books-christopher-hitchens-richard-dawkins-georgia-state-parks-1271125

    RDFRS: Florida Teen Fights Back Against Bible ... – Richard

    http://www.richarddawkins.net/news_articles/2013/1/22/florida-teen-fights-back-against-bible-distribution-at-his-school#

    May 23, 2013 at 12:46 pm | Report abuse |

    Cheers

    [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ctrUY4CWocY&w=640&h=390]

    Peace

    May 23, 2013 at 2:01 pm |
    • Science

      https://www.zotero.org/colleengreene/items/5XRFKX8N

      Peace

      May 25, 2013 at 3:52 pm |
  19. Reality

    "The Two Universal Sects

    They all err—Moslems, Jews,
    Christians, and Zoroastrians:

    Humanity follows two world-wide sects:
    One, man intelligent without religion,
    The second, religious without intellect. "

    Al-Ma'arri
    , born AD 973 /, died AD 1058 / .

    Al-Ma’arri was a blind Arab philosopher, poet and writer.[1][2] He was a controversial rationalist of his time, attacking the dogmas of religion and rejecting the claim that Islam possessed any monopoly on truth."

    Read more: http://www.answers.com/topic/resalat-al-ghufran#ixzz1lI6DuZmZ and http://www.humanistictexts.org/al_ma'arri.htm

    "Death's Debt is Paid in
    Full

    Death's debt is then and there
    Paid down by dying men;
    But it is a promise bare
    That they shall rise again. "

    Al-Ma'arri

    May 23, 2013 at 9:34 am |
  20. hecep

    So this is the part where the guy who was "exorcised" says, "I wasn't?!", then starts projectile vomiting, while his head spins all the way around.

    May 23, 2013 at 9:10 am |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.